Flyers raise retired Lindros' No. 88 to rafters

From ESPN - January 18, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Nearly 17 years after a bitter breakup, the Philadelphia Flyers retired Eric Lindros' jersey on Thursday night in a stirring tribute to the Hall of Fame center.

No. 88 was raised to the rafters of Wells Fargo Center, a facility Lindros helped open in 1996, before the Flyers played his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.

"Very blessed that I could have played in Philadelphia," Lindros said as the crowd roared.

Combining size, skill and strength, the 6-foot-4 Lindros averaged a franchise record 1.35 points per game in Philadelphia from 1992-2000. Lindros won the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 1995 after leading the NHL with 70 points in the lockout-shortened season. He helped the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final two years later, where they were swept by Detroit.

"These are one of those days you take for the rest of your life. It's a special moment," Lindros said before the ceremony. "You feel lucky."

In an elaborate 23-minute, on-ice tribute that included video highlights on a giant four-sided projector and gifts, Lindros was surrounded by trophies he won with a lighted, orange No. 88 serving as a backdrop.

Orange and black souvenir T-shirts were placed on seats so fans on both sides of the ice traced out the No. 88 in black. His number was painted into the ice behind both goals and banners that included "There's only one 88" hung from the upper deck.

Lindros, 44, became the sixth Flyers player to have his number retired, joining Bernie Parent (1), Mark Howe (2), Barry Ashbee (4), Bill Barber (7) and Bobby Clarke (16).

It was a feud with Clarke, then the Flyers general manager, that led to his ugly exit from Philadelphia. It stemmed mostly from the treatment Lindros received for a number of concussions and a collapsed lung, with his parents often criticizing the Flyers' medical team.

After a shoulder-to-jaw hit by New Jersey's Scott Stevens in the 2000 playoffs, Lindros missed all of the 2000-01 season because of post-concussion issues and a contract dispute with Clarke. His trade demand was granted in August 2001 when he was sent to the New York Rangers.

He later played for Toronto and Dallas before retiring in 2007, finishing with 372 goals and 865 points in 760 games.

Lindros was asked if back in 2001 he could have envisioned his number being retired in Philly.


Continue reading at ESPN »